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How much value does a set lose with no instructions?


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Hi everyone,

 

I'm looking to purchase a lot of complete sets, from the early nineties era.  Some castle and pirates etc. There are no instructions, at all.  The sets are built (from online instructions) and photographed, so I know the sets are complete.

 

I'm just wondering, how much lower than the market value these sets are then worth? 

is there a percentage anybody uses?

do buyers generally care a great deal about the instructions??

 

Any info is greatly appreciated

 

cheers,

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Hi Wickedboarder, and welcome to BrickPicker.

 

There really isn't any set percentage that instructions are based on. Usually, the instructions are better to keep, and are better for the buyer. In general, buyers are not as knowledgeable as you and me, and don't know that they can get instuctions off internet databases. If you choose to sell, show them how to get instructions. Buyers always appreciate it if you go that extra step and print it out for them too!

 

However, whenever you have the chance to either have instructions or not, get them some can end up being very valuable. For example, look at the picture below or go to the sold eBay listing at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lego-MARKET-STREET-INSTRUCTIONS-ONLY-10190-Modular-Buildings-city-town-set-/181145309293?pt=Building_Toys_US&hash=item2a2d1a106d.

 

For unretired sets that have MSRP's less than $30, I would imagine that instructions cost less than $5. For sets from $50-$75, maybe $5-8, and $100+ can be $10+! Retired sets are much harder to gauge, since there is more demand for instructions for retired sets. For example, I remember seeing a new LEGO SW Millennium Falcon instructions manual going gor $400-$450 in an auction with several bids already..

post-5354-0-72905400-1372905992_thumb.pn

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I can't find the original source, but I recall in the past someone saying to take off 20-30% of the value, which I don't think is too far off.  There are a lot of buyers who couldn't care less about boxes, but in my experience the market for sets missing original instructions is quite limited.

 

I would check the going rate on bricklink for instructions. Then subtract that from the secondary market price.

You also have to remember that any potential buyer will also be factoring in the added shipping costs, plus the nuisance of having to buy from two sellers rather than one.  This is why as a buyer I generally ignore any LEGO set being sold without instructions unless it is an extremely rare LEGO set.

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I have been selling a few used sets lately that were part of a bulk lot that have no instructions.  I've been pricing them about $5-10 below what I would have priced them with instructions and they seem to be selling ok.  I think the ready availability of them online now combined with the general populace being a bit more Internet savy and also that smartphones can be used as an instruction book reader while you build has lessened the impact of a set having no instructions.

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The fact the original owner was not very studious about saving their instructions has to make you wonder how careful they might have been with the rest of their collection.  I wouldn't be surprised if a few parts have bite marks and there may well be some broken pieces too.  So, I'll say it again it would seem wise to factor in more things than simply the missing instructions.
 

I have been selling a few used sets lately that were part of a bulk lot that have no instructions.  I've been pricing them about $5-10 below what I would have priced them with instructions and they seem to be selling ok.  I think the ready availability of them online now combined with the general populace being a bit more Internet savy and also that smartphones can be used as an instruction book reader while you build has lessened the impact of a set having no instructions.

Good point, even if instruction scans have been around for years having a modern tablet or a smartphone probably does suffice for a certain segment of buyers.  As stated before though instruction books can sell for large amounts and I don't think they are being bought solely out of ignorance either.  In the end it is a matter of knowing your audience.

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I wouldn't take off more than 10%. If you're listing on ebay just make sure you clearly state they don't include instructions or you'll get some annoyed parent who's 8 year old can't build their set because their parents haven't heard of google before.

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Figured I'd revive this thread by mentioning I found a local selling a used Green Grocer for $500, however, there are no instructions included, and considering how much instructions go for this set on ebay, I think $500 might be a bit much to ask for the set alone. I'm considering trying to barter with him, but seeing as a few used grocers have recently gone for around 400-450 complete, he may be asking a bit too much.

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